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A Howling Shame

Barring Last Minute Reprieve, BAWA Expected to Close its Door

(9/30/2013) The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) closed its doors of its Ubud Clinic on Monday, September 30, 2013, following the delivery of a third and final warning letter from the Gianyar regency for failing to obtain an entire range of permits and licenses that are still under process, but yet to receive formal approval.

Janice Girardi, the founder of BAWA, told press conference on Sunday, September 29, 2013, that despite their best efforts, the final permits could not be issued within the strict deadline period set by authorities.

Authorities cited BAWA for lacking the proper building permit, the lack of an environmental impact study, and a failure to manage solid and atmospheric pollution.

Many have claimed that the very strict enforcement steps taken by the Gianyar administration against BAWA were selective and discriminatory, taken in perceived retaliation for BAWA's spirited and outspoken promotion of rabies prevention and animal rights issues in Bali, sometimes done at the expense of disgruntled officials.

Further fueling the view that BAWA's closure may be both mean-spirited and selective is the fact that, the Regency of Gianyar is not generally known for the imposition of the strict letter of the law in other areas. A point in case, local press reports say illegal accommodation providers in Gianyar far outnumber the legally licensed establishments, demonstrating that strict adherence to rules and permits is more the exception than the rule in Gianyar. (See link: Illegal Outposts in the Hills of Bali)

Girardi told the press conference on Sunday that BAWA had played a central role in the vaccination of 280,000 dogs and the sterilization of 13,280 animals during period of service in Bali.

BAWA’s lawyer, Nyoman “Punglik” Sudiantara, announced to the press conference that he is still hopeful that lobbying effort with the Gianyar administration will earn BAWA an extension of time to organize permits while at the same time being allowed to continue their work.

Originally established on the recommendation of the Regency of Gianyar in 2010, BAWA has worked in the forefront of rabies prevention, community education, sterilization programs and the emergency rescue of injured animals by medical teams working from roving ambulances around the clock.

As the deadline for closure loomed, rescue programs were forced to come to a halt as BAWA workers scrambled to find homes for the nearly 100 animals still under their care. Sick and injured dogs on the side of Bali's roads no longer recive life-saving medical and paliative care from BAWA, but are left to suffer and die in the dust unless other compassionate help can be found.

While efforts to obtain the needed licenses continue, the future of the tens of paid workers employed by BAWA also remains very much in doubt.

Related Articles and Links

An Open Letter to Governor Pastika

BAWA Facebook Page

BAWA Website

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